Fennel is a really underrated vegetable here in the UK, whereas in Italy it’s incredibly popular. It’s an umbellifer from the same plant family as carrot, celery and parsley, and has a mild aniseed flavour and the whole plant is edible from the bulb up to the leaves and flowers. In this recipe we’re going to use the bulb to make a fantastic gratin that can be served as a side with roasts, or as a light lunch. It’s pretty similar to boulangère potatoes, and is really easy to make.
- 1kg fennel
- 50ml dry white wine or 1 x tbsp white wine vinegar
- 200 chicken stock
- 75g Gruyère
- 50g parmesan
- 50g Manchego
- 50ml double cream
- a good grinding of pepper
- Lemon juice & zest
- Handful pangrattato (“Poor Man’s Parmesan” – get our recipe here)
- Pre heat an oven to 190c
- Cut the bottom of the fennel bulb off, and finely slice. Layer into a oven proof dish. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add lemon juice and zest to the fennel.
- In a jug mix the stock, wine (or vinegar) & double cream. Pour over the fennel and cover with tin foil and put into the oven.
- Grate the cheeses.
- After 20 mins, test the fennel with a knife to check if it is soft. If not put into an oven for another 10 mins.
- Then add the grated cheese and cook until melted.
- Sprinkle the pangrattato over and serve!